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Posts Tagged ‘clean cars’

Toyota Says the Future is Blowing in the Wind

Japanese automakers partnering in renewable hydrogen program.

by on Mar.14, 2016

Renewables, like wind power, would be needed to make batteries and hydrogen truly clean forms of propulsion.

Searching for a clean alternative to gasoline, automakers around the world have largely focused on battery propulsion and hydrogen fuel-cell technology. But both are only as clean as the source of energy they rely on.

Generating electricity or producing hydrogen using power from coal plants is far from clean. But using renewable power is a different story. And Toyota, which has been focusing its efforts on hydrogen, with products like the new Mirai fuel-cell vehicle, is now lending its support to wind power.

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The automaker announced today it is entering a partnership operating out of the city of Yokohama to produce hydrogen that can be used to fuel vehicles like the Mirai.


2016 Chevrolet Volt Named Green Car of the Year

Second win for Chevy Plug-in Hybrid.

by on Nov.19, 2015

Green Car Publisher Ron Cogan, Chevy Marketing Director Steve Mojoras and the 2016 Volt.

The completely redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Volt has been named Green Car of the Year, repeating a victory it claimed when the original plug-in hybrid debuted a half-decade ago.

The Volt knocked down an impressive list of competitors that included the new, fourth-generation 2016 Toyota Prius, the world’s best-selling hybrid-electric vehicle.

A Winner!

“This is certainly something special,” proclaimed Steve Mojoras, Chevy’s marketing manager, after accepting the crystal trophy at the L.A. Auto Show event. “This is a hard market to crack. This is the Super Bowl of green car awards, so it adds instant validation.”


Will You Even Recognize Your Car in the Near Future?

Plenty of “disrupters” about to transform what we drive.

by on Sep.18, 2015

Poster courtesy United Artists.

In the 1973 film, “Sleeper,” Woody Allen is revived after being frozen following a botched operation. To escape the inept police state trying to terminate him, he steals a car that looks like a bubble, with frosted windows and no steering wheel. He simply tells it where to go.

The comedy was supposed to take place 200 years from now but, at least when it comes to the car, it could just as well happen in little more than a decade from now. A recent concept vehicle from Mercedes-Benz, the F 015, can black out its windows, use voice commands to safely drive automatically to a destination, and passengers can swivel their seats to turn the big sedan into a mobile living room.

Welcome to the Future!

At least, that’s the grand vision – but it’s creating nightmares for an auto industry facing tough new mileage, emissions and safety regulations and the need to invest tens of billions of dollars in new and largely untested technologies. And traditional automakers face the threat of new and well-funded challengers, such as Tesla, Google and Apple.


Stop “Crying Wolf,” Over 54.5 mpg Standard, Says “Queen of Cleaner Cars”

by on Apr.27, 2015

Margo Oge retired in 2012 after 32 years with the EPA.

With fuel prices down by as much as 30% from their 2014 peak, millions of Americans have been migrating to pickups and SUVs and abandoning compact passenger cars and alternative fuel vehicles. That’s leading some industry executives to questions whether the federal government should re-think the 54.5 mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standard set to take effect in 2025.

Such a move would be a critical mistake, warns Margo Ogo, a former official with the EPA who helped put together the compromise fuel economy rules and who has been dubbed by some “the Queen of Cleaner Cars.” If anything, she says, the tough mandate targeted for a decade from now doesn’t go nearly far enough.

Balanced Debate!

“2025 is the first down-payment to the planet for the need to get away from fossil fuels,” Oge told during a lengthy interview marking the release of her new book, Driving the Future: Combating Climate Change with Cleaner, Smarter Cars. “We, as a society, need to move to zero-emission vehicles by 2050…if we are to meet goals of reducing carbon emissions.”


10 American Cities with the Greenest Car Shoppers

Go West, young eco-buyer!

by on Apr.16, 2015

The Tesla Model S has won over many buyers with its performance, as well as its eco-friendly nature.

Spend some time out in Los Angeles and you’ll spot a seemingly endless stream of Ferraris, Maseratis and other exotic sports cars. In fact, Southern California is the world’s largest market for high-performance Mercedes-AMG models.

But Tinseltown drivers also love their Teslas, and Toyota Prius hybrids, making L.A. one of the country’s largest markets for green machines, as well.

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Just in time for Earth Day, the folks at probed their search data to see which cities have the most eco-friendly buyers. And they were in for a few surprises. For one thing, the Top 10 was made up entirely of West Coast cities this year. And while it might seem reasonable that places like Portland, San Francisco and LA made the cut, there were some smaller cities represented as well.


Nissan Tests a Self-Cleaning Car

Buick looking to keep things clean in the “puke zone.”

by on Apr.25, 2014

A Nissan Note shows how the water and oil-resistant coating keeps one side of the vehicle clean.

If it’s not winter’s salt and grime, it’s mud and everyday dirt. Keeping your car clean can be a chore – a backbreaking one if you prefer to do it yourself.

But Nissan is testing a car that can keep itself clean, thanks to special paints that repel water and oils. Similar technology could eventually allow manufacturers to do away with windshield wipers by effectively fend off water and grime. Meanwhile, new coatings can also help keep a car’s interior cleaner, something especially useful for parents – or those actively involved in sports like camping and trail biking.

We Dish the Dirt!

The Nissan Technical Center in Rolle, Switzerland is in the midst of testing a specially prepared version of the maker’s little European Note model. The subcompact hatchback has had a layer of a special coating, called Ultra-Ever Dry applied over its conventional paint finish. Developed by UltraTech International, it’s technically known as a super-hydrophobic and oleophobic paint. In other words, it actually repels both oil and water.


Toyota Prius Named “Greenest” Vehicle

by on Jan.16, 2013

The Toyota Prius C is hailed as America's "Greenest" car.

The Toyota Prius C, the newest member of Toyota Prius “family,” has been named the nation’s “Greenest” vehicle by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.  At the other end of the spectrum, the ACEEE tarred the Ford F-350 as the “Meanest,” or dirtiest vehicle on the road.

The organization, which describes itself as a “catalyst to advance energy efficiency,” hailed the growing number of hybrids, plug-ins, pure battery-electric vehicles and other environmental friendly vehicles now coming to market and noted that new products dominated the dozen models on its “Greenest” vehicle list.

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“The vehicles at the top of this year’s rankings are proof that automakers are really ramping up their offerings,” said ACEEE lead vehicle analyst Shruti Vaidyanathan. “There are more hybrid and electric options on the market this year than ever before and the race for a spot on the Greenest list is increasingly competitive. Automakers have revamped their offerings to meet the growing demand for efficient vehicles and new fuel economy standards.”


Is CNG Finally Ready for Prime Time?

Fuel is cheap, plentiful, so why isn’t it getting wider use?

by on Oct.09, 2012

The Ram 2500 Heavy Duty is one of the rare vehicles offering a factory CNG package.

Chrysler has landed orders from 19 states to supply Ram 2500 Heavy Duty pickup trucks running on compressed natural gas.

The move comes as 22 states form a coalition to promote the use of the cheap, plentiful and relatively clean fuel. The coalition has told U.S. automakers that if they build vehicles capable of running on CNG orders will run anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 annually.

“That should be enough to get them to move,” said John Hickenlooper, the governor of Colorado which has been one of the states taking the lead in the effort to promote the use of CNG.

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Compressed natural gas is gaining a lot of attention lately.  Traditionally used for home heating as well as industrial applications, CNG is winning converts even in the environmental movement.  While it is considered a fossil fuel its chemical structure contains less carbon than petroleum or coal and that means that in a motor vehicle it produces 60 to 90% fewer smog-causing pollutants and 30 to 40% less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.


China: Clean Cars, Dirty Coal Don’t Mix

New study warns battery cars could actually worsen air in cities like Beijing.

by on Feb.14, 2012

China's Datong coal-fired generating plant.

Chinese regulators have put a premium on turning to battery power for the nation’s fast-growing automotive fleet.  But a new study questions whether they are simply going to trade off one form of pollution for another.

With the vast bulk of China’s electric power coming from coal generators, the new study by the University of Tennessee, University of Minnesota, and China’s Tsinghua University suggests that for most of that country’s consumers, gasoline-powered vehicles or those using conventional hybrid-electric technology may actually be cleaner than those proponents prefer to bill as “zero-emission” vehicles, or ZEVs.

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The benefits of going “green” vary by region.  Across China, 68% of electricity is now generated from coal.  But in some regions, such as the area around the massive Three Rivers Gorge damn project where there’s the availability of plenty of hydro power, the payoff is more substantial.


New California Rules Could Push Millions More “Clean” Cars on the Road

Industry officials largely supporting new plan.

by on Jan.27, 2012

New California rules would put millions of plug-ins, like this Ford C-Max Energi, battery and hydrogen cars on the state's roads by 2025.

California’s environmental regulators have announced plans to tighten already strict emissions rules that were previously aimed at putting at least 1.4 million plug-in hybrids and battery cars on the state’s roads by 2025 – a move that could add millions more “clean cars” to the total.

Though industry officials have expressed concerns for the technical and cost implications, a wide range of companies, including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and Nissan, told the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, that they’ll support the latest mandates.

The Final Word!

The new rules would require that by 2025 at least one of every seven vehicles sold in California would have to be a plug-in hybrid, extended-range electric vehicle or pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV.

“We can’t afford to wait. We have to act on these issues now,” said CARB Chairman Mary Nichols during hearings on the proposed new rules. “Our projections show continued growth in population and vehicle miles traveled, which will affect air quality for years to come.”